The term "hot hatch" was coined to represent a sporty family hatchback that had been prepared by a manufacturer. The term "boy racer" represents somebody who buys a car and makes it race-ready for the road. But what happens when the two collide is that you're left with one of the most steroidal family hatchbacks ever made – the hard-core Civic Type R.
One look at it and you can tell this is no ordinary school run special. Those bulging wheel arches, low profile tyres, aggressive angular lines and huge rear spoiler mean it wouldn't look out of place on a BTCC race circuit – it pretty much looks race ready.
As you'd expect, the sporty touches from the outside are carried through to the interior. There are lots of nice subtleties like the red stitching dotted around the cabin and the figure-hugging bucket seats, and each car gets a unique name plaque as well.
So on to the business end and how it drives. The old Civic Type R used to pump out 198bhp which, in the hot hatch world, was rather tame. The new one, though, still gets a 2 litre 4 cylinder engine – but it's now been fitted with a turbo charger, meaning it will pump out 307bhp. That means it's a lot quicker. In fact, it will do 0-60 in just 5.7 seconds. The trouble is, though, it's lost some of that revvy nature that you used to get with the old VTEC engines.
It's only when you really start to push the Type R that you realise the spoilers aren't just there for show. They're producing down force which keeps it planted on the road. It grips really well at speed into the corners and while the steering doesn't have a great deal of feel, you can still push it hard with confidence.
Normally with a front wheel drive car over 300bhp there's a bit of torque steer when you accelerate hard, but thanks to some trickery the suspension in this is all well tamed.
If you're looking for understated performance then the Civic Type R isn't for you – but, unlike previous versions, it is still usable every day, although its aggressive looks and hard-core nature will have many looking elsewhere.
That's what we think of the Honda Civic Type R – but why not watch the video above to find out what some potential owners make of the car?
October 1, 2015